General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 30 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 30

Thu Apr 21 16:30:00 UTC 2022

Dear Colleague

As many of us enter a new term, I hope you all had a chance to take a break over the last few weeks. This term brings many important assessment milestones into sharp focus.

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I know how hard you have all been working to prepare students for examinations this year in continuing challenging circumstances. We have also been preparing for the series printing examination question papers and sending these out to centres across the world. We are looking forward to welcoming many of you back working with us as examiners again this year.  

With the first examinations taking place in the next few weeks and many of our moderated qualifications well underway with visits, please make sure you have read all the important information about key dates and the package of measures to support learners in May/June 2022. Since I last wrote to you the Joint Council for Qualifications has released important information about special considerations in May/June 2022. Please make sure you share this in your centre and read it.

Also included in this issue of the bulletin are some important reminders about question paper security, advance information and our new Learner Work Transfer (LWT) system.

The next term will no doubt present new and different challenges as we draw closer to the first large general qualifications exam series in a few years. We will do all we can to support you in advance of the series and we will continue to write to you through these bulletins with important and helpful resources and reminders.

You can always get in touch if you have any questions and we will always do our best to get you the answers as quickly as possible.

Kind regards

Hayley White
Assessment Director

JCQ have released updated Special Considerations Guidance to cover COVID-19 for Summer 2022. The guidance has been created in line with the latest UKHSA guidance. Candidates should be encouraged to attend examinations as much as possible and where it is safe to do so in line with Government guidelines.  

However, in circumstances where a candidate who is staying at home and avoiding contact with others, in line with UKHSA guidance, at the time of the examination, is considered to be absent from the examination for an acceptable reason and would be eligible for special considerations. This includes candidates who are displaying the symptoms described in the UKHSA guidance as advising them to stay at home (e.g. a high temperature for those aged 18 and under) as well as those with a positive COVID-19 test result. Where a candidate still wishes to attend an examination, despite having symptoms (e.g. a high temperature) or a positive COVID-19 test, the centre should encourage the candidate to follow the UKHSA’s guidance or local authority guidance.

The JCQ awarding bodies will be adapting Form 14 - JCQ/ME - Self-certification for candidates who have missed an examination to assist centres in dealing with candidates who are absent from an examination for an acceptable reason in line with the UKHSA guidance. Centres will expect parents, carers and candidates to complete the relevant sections of the form. Centres can verify the candidate’s circumstances, where provided in Form 14, to process an application for special consideration using the category ‘absent candidate’. There is no requirement for a candidate to complete a COVID-19 test to provide evidence of their absence from an examination. 

JCQ will be releasing a further set of FAQs but examples can be found on pages 20-21 of the guide.

Read the JCQ guide to the special consideration process

As we have previously mentioned via these bulletins, Exam Officer updates, subject advisor newsletters and through social media, for May/June 2022, the portal will also be used for a host of GCSE, International GCSE, A level, Project and International A Levels that involve either a speaking component, performance, portfolio, or other non-examined assessment.

Please refer to the relevant support guides videos to determine how and when you will need to use learner work transfer. 

The Examination/Moderation Learner Work Transfer portal is already open and available on some subjects.

As previously mentioned we will no longer be supplying CDs for GCSE and A level MFL listening, GCSE and A level Music, and CDs/DVDs for A level Music Technology exams. All materials will be available to download on SDS.

It is very straightforward to set up an SDS account by using the steps in our Secure Download Service support article. To access SDS, you must be a registered Edexcel online user, with one of the following roles:

  • Head of Centre
  • Exams Manager
  • Exams Officer
  • Exams assistant
  • Centre co-ordinator/administrator.

If you have an EOL account but don't have the SDS access required, please contact Customer Services who will be able to resolve this for you. A training video on our Secure Download Service will also be made available. Details to follow in the next bulletin.

Read the Secure Download Service support article

For those candidates cashing in our modular International A Levels this May/June, a reminder that grades from prior series, including TAG grades from May/June 2021, were awarded UMS marks, and so can be aggregated with unit results from May/June 2022 to count towards the final award.

This approach ensures that work produced for TAGs in 2021 can count towards the final grade. This is particularly relevant for International A Level candidates who completed International AS units in May/June 2021. 

We know that you take question paper security as seriously as we do. We’re always seeking ways to enhance the security of our papers and we wanted to let you know that we’re planning on making some changes which may affect you this May/June. 

For exams in May/June, we will be putting additional measures in place to enhance the security of exams in A level Mathematics and some other identified high-risk A level and International A Level subjects. If your centre will be affected by these changes we will write to you with further details soon. 

In the meantime, as we build up to the examination series we recommend reading the latest JCQ Instructions for Conducting Examinations document. More information about our question paper tracking services and how to store question papers can be found on our support portal.

You can also access free on-demand e-Learning for Exams Officers on our website, where our interactive module walks you through the process of maintaining exam paper security in your centre. 

Take a look at the free on-demand e-Learning for Exams Officers

Our final May/June 2022 Assessment drop-in sessions will take place towards the end of April. Do join us to ask any questions you may have ahead of the exam series. 

The next drop-in sessions are on: 

  • International Qualifications: Thursday 28 April 2022 at 07:00-07:30 GMT 
  • UK Qualifications: Wednesday 27 April 2022 at 16:00-16:30 GMT 

For further information and to book your place please visit the Pearson Professional Development Academy.

As you will know the advance information for all relevant GCSE, A level and International GCSE subjects has now been released.

Since then, we have updated some of the advance information documents where minor amendments were needed due to typographical reasons or to meet the principles of advance information content agreed by all exam boards. The qualifications and type of amendments are listed on the table on the main Summer 2022 Support page.

You can find more information in the JCQ Frequently Asked Questions for exam centres and the JCQ Frequently Asked Questions for students.

The Key Dates Finder on our website enables you to find all of the key dates for Pearson general qualifications and subjects in one place.

Here are those taking place in the next few weeks.

  • 20 April 2022 - Last day that withdrawn entries will be refunded for June 22 Series
  • From 21 April 2022 - Amendment fees will be charged for June 22 Series
  • From 22 April 2022 - High late entry fees will be charged for June 22 Series
  • 22 April 2022 - Date by which International GCSE, AS and A level, and GCSE certificates will be issued for November 21 Series

For more information on key dates for post results services please visit our Post-results services key dates page

Our team of subject advisors send out regular important updates about their specific subject areas.

The updates contain important information about assessments, support, events, resources and other key areas of information.  

Sign up for your subject advisor updates now

As part of an ongoing piece of work here at Pearson in partnership with the University of West London, we're seeking insights from educators across the country about online learning and alternative provision. 

We'd like to hear about your experiences of alternative provision within your own school and how the pandemic may have affected students in such provision.

Simply share your thoughts in our short survey and help us shape the future

Please take a look at our FAQ hub, and Teaching, Learning and Assessment page for Vocational and Technical Qualifications in 2021/22.

Read vocational and technical qualifications 2021-2022 FAQs

Take a look at the Teaching, learning and assessment 2021-2022 page

You will find the latest information and support for our vocational qualifications on this web page, along with links to our regular VQ Bulletin containing all the key updates you need for our vocational qualifications. Please do bookmark this page for future reference.

Read the VQ Bulletins

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